“We felt like a family right from the start”

Author: TACT Communications

Tags: Fostering siblings, Long term fostering, Permanence

Hazel and Stephen – TACT Foster carer since 2016
TACT Scotland

We started fostering five years ago. I’ve wanted to be a foster carer ever since I was a teenager, I think it came from watching Pippa, who was a foster mother on the TV show Home and Away. The idea just struck a chord with me. Five years ago, I got to the point in my life where I wanted a change, so I spoke with my husband about fostering and we agreed it was a good time.

We currently look after a brother and sister who have been with us for the past four years, and who will be staying with us permanently. We are both very passionate about keeping siblings together when and where possible. We both grew up having a sibling and couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be separated from them, especially during such a traumatic time.

We met the children a few times before they moved in, and they had some overnight stays so it didn’t feel like they were pushed straight into it. I think this made the process much easier on everyone. My foster daughter wanted to move in with us straight away and brought most of her belongings on the first stay, but my foster son was more hesitant.

We were a little bit nervous as a previous placement had been challenging. However, within the first week I knew they would be here for a long time. We all just clicked. It’s hard to describe but we all felt like a family right from the start.

We also included their two sisters as much as we could, right from the start. One of their older sisters had been placed in a secure unit and we would visit her every week. We have since bonded with her like she was one of our own children. In fact, she has just changed her second name to ours which was a proud moment for us. She says she feels like she has a family again. She comes to stay here, or the kids go to her on weekends. The other sister would meet with the kids once a month but has sadly lost contact in the last year due to personal reasons, we hope they will reconnect soon.

It has been so rewarding watching them grow into amazing young adults. Our foster son has really grown in confidence, and he doesn’t shy away from anything. His grades at school have been amazing and we are so proud to see him follow his passion to join the armed forces. He is incredibly focused considering the hectic start to his life.

Our foster daughter has also made amazing progress. She was so shy when she first moved here. She joined a dance class and has since done two dance shows in front of hundreds of people. She now tries things that scare her rather than shy away. I am so proud of them both!

They have a really close relationship and as they are only a year and a bit apart, it has been easy to do things as a family that everyone enjoys. The love that they have for all of their siblings fills me with pride. They have a great relationship with my 23-year-old son too which is just lovely to see. We are just one big happy family.

I would say if you have the space at home to foster siblings, please consider it. These kids thrive being together. I just can’t imagine not having my foster two kids and their sister in our lives now. I thought when I first applied, I’d end up with really young children, but instead I have teenagers living with me and their older sister that stays over regularly. I couldn’t be happier.

Read more about fostering sibling groups.

Read more about long term fostering.